Apr 212017
 

The Communist Party of Canada-Ontario extends its full support to the members of Local 2049 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), who have been locked out by Children’s Aid Society of the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound since last December.  Management chose not to present a contract offer different from the one that workers had rejected by a 96% margin in a supervised vote the week before, instead they locked the local out.

The CUPE workers, predominantly women, have been adamant that management is undermining the child protective services their members provide by cutting union jobs or ‘leaving them vacant’. Management is also trying to decimate the local’s sick leave provisions, even though they don’t replace workers who call in sick.

This lockout is a result of provincial cuts to social service agencies, and management’s unwillingness to respect the front-line workers who provide the much-needed services for these northern residents. Coincidentally, the CAS executive director appeared on the provincial Sunshine list – he made more than $150,000 last year. CUPE has demanded that the province disband the current board and take over the management of the CAS; to date the province has refused. Management is using scabs to provide some services – in some cases with staff that are unqualified. Continue reading »

Apr 112017
 

On April 11, the Communist Party of Canada-Ontario stands with union and community allies to recognize Equal Pay Day – the day to which women, on average, have to work to earn what a man did in 2016. In other words, a woman has to work 15 ½ months to earn what a man makes in 12 months. Women, on average, make 70 cents for every dollar made by a man. For Aboriginal, racialized, disabled, trans and lesbian women, the gap is even higher. A recent study on the Global Gender Gap by the World Economic Forum reached the damning conclusion that at the current rate, it will take 170 years for women to reach equality.

Women who are in unions are less likely to be caught in the wage gap.  As women are also more likely to join a union, the labour movement should focus on organizing women-dominant workplaces. Currently CUPE local 2073 is on strike against the Canadian Hearing Society and CUPE Local 2049 are locked out by the Children’s Aid Society of Nipissing and Parry Sound.  Women at majority women workplaces lead both these job actions. The use of scabs in these strikes and chronic underfunding of provincial social services stand in the way of these union members winning their fight to close the gender pay gap. Continue reading »

Nov 252016
 

As in other parts of Canada, the working class in Ontario is experiencing a deep wage and employment crisis, which threatens the living standards of millions of people in the province. But it also sees the ruling class filling its bank accounts. The provincial government’s Universal Basic Income plan – dressed up as a progressive social reform – is actually a vehicle to legislatively entrench this situation.

For the past two decades, the official poverty rate in Ontario has remained in the 10-13% range. This means that, at a minimum, over 1 million people live below the poverty line each year in the province.

Furthermore, welfare rates continue to drop further beneath the poverty line. Currently, this “poverty gap” for 160,000 single adults on social assistance is 60% – they receive only $8500 per year, $12,300 below the poverty line in Ontario. Tens of thousands cannot afford to properly feed themselves or retain their housing, leading to more hunger and homelessness.

The Ontario Association of Food Banks reported that 360,000 people used a food bank each day in 2015, with a 35% increase in the number of seniors and a total of 10,000 more food bank visits over the previous year. Conditions in northern and rural areas are worse, as people are spread over large areas, many in isolated communities. Continue reading »

May 072016
 

The Ontario Nominating Convention of the Communist Party of Canada expresses its solidarity with Gilary Massa, who was fired on December 2015 by her employer, the Ryerson University Students Union, while she was on maternity leave. Her dismissal is a harsh, shameful act that violated her basic rights and openly attacks women’s equality. We support the #IStandWithGilary campaign and its Mothers’ Day Rally for Maternity Leave on May 8.

No one should be subjected to public humiliation simply for taking maternity leave, and then expecting to have their job upon their return. When women are denied the right to maternity leave, they are being told that they are less worthy of employment, that they are less of a person. Continue reading »